FINALS: Powerade Tigers 1 - 3 Talk N Text Tropang Texters

An unidentified man sneaks up behind the hulk. The suspect pulls the trigger. The behemoth, in turn, thinks he hears firecrackers. The giant suddenly feels a sting. Like some pinched nerve. The mortal flees. Man Mountain, on the other hand, wonders what just happened. He's still on his feet. A bullet, however, now resides in his neck. This god of put-backs and box-outs sees a gush of crimson. The blood is his. And he needs help. 

"Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!" 

Howard Cosell's famous line from the 1973 World Heavyweight Championship fight between Joe Frazier and George Foreman lingers. Smokin' Joe is gone. Sports fans know his name. Even if they don't know his face. They know Frazier' link to Muhammad Ali. Joe Frazier is the brute. Muhammad Ali is the beautiful. These gods of hooks, straights, and upper cuts roamed our streets for the Thrilla in Manila. One god succumbs to liver cancer. The other god, the one sports fans will always call "The Greatest", continues to battle Parkinson's Disease. 
Albert Henry Peek's nickname is Ali. As in Muhammad Ali? Peek, however, is nowhere near as brash, controversial, tempestuous as his namesake. Peek is quiet. He tries to blend in. Good luck. He's 6'3". But plays like he's 6'6". Wide as a driveway. Chiseled like a monument. He was born in 1975; same year as Thrilla in Manila, as two gods of boxing clashed while a god of rebounds was born. 

When Peek scores 25 points (14 in the fourth quarter) like he did in a game against Ginebra last year, he must feel like a god. When he's in an undisclosed hospital room, pondering the future, even just the immediate future, like what happens tomorrow, he probably doesn't feel god-like at all. He must feel real human. No different from you and me. Vulnerable. Anxious. Hopeful. Scared. 

We're asked to pay PHP 15,500.00 (for the best seats) to watch David Beckham, a god of football, play against the Azkals. The world stops on Sunday so we can watch Manny Pacquiao, our god of thunder, throw the hammer on Juan Manuel Marquez's face. We treat them like gods because they're so unlike us. They score goals. They knock people out. They dunk. And most of us can't. They show us how far human bodies can be pushed. They illustrate how flesh and blood can become myth. 

#prayersforpeek #prayersforpeek #prayersforpeek 

Then, on a random Monday night, someone shoots Ali Peek. Aren't we supposed to pray to a god, not pray for a god? 

I mourn for Frazier. I cheer for Peek. Peek is not a god of basketball for the moment. He is a wounded man subject to violence and lawlessness, prone to whatever hides in the shadows, even if he is thrice my size. Yet, he deserves my support. Not because of his right to PBA championships and fame. But because of Ali Peek's right, a man's right to live. - GMA News Online


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